How to register a birthLast updated: 29 June 2012 15:35 UK
Why does a birth have to be registered?
An Act of Parliament called the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 placed a legal duty on parents to register every newborn baby in England and Wales.
When does the birth have to be registered?The law allows parents 42 days (6 weeks) in which to register a baby’s birth.
Who can register the birth?If the mother and father were married to each other at the time of the baby’s birth, either parent may register.
If the mother and father were not married to each other at the time of the baby’s birth, the mother alone may register the birth, but the father’s details can only be entered in the register if he is also present at the time of the registration.
Alternatively the mother or father may make a statutory declaration of parentage allowing one parent to attend if they are not married to each other. For further information on this please contact the Register Office on: 023 92 829041.
Babies concieved using fertility treatmentThe Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, which came into effect on the 6th April 2009, effects children born as a result of fertility treatment and who can be entered as legal parents on the birth certificate. It is now possible for two female parents to be recorded on a child's birth certificate. If you need further information on this please feel free to contact Portsmouth Register Office or read the information given on the Direct.gov website.
Mothers please noteIf you are not married to baby’s father you are not normally obliged to have the father’s details included in the entry. If the father’s details are not entered at the time of registration it may be possible for this to be done at a later date. For further information please contact the Registrar who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
An important change for unmarried couplesThe law has changed to make it easier for unmarried fathers to get equal parental responsibility. From 1st December 2003, all you have to do is for both parents to register the birth of your baby together.
Parental responsibility for your child gives you important legal rights as well as responsibilities. Without it, you don’t have any right to be involved in decisions such as where they live, their education, religion or medical treatment. With parental responsibility, you are treated in law as the child’s parent, and you take equal responsibility for bringing them up.
Unlike mothers and married fathers, if you are not married to your baby’s mother you do not automatically have parental responsibility for them.
Before this change, you could only gain parental responsibility by later marrying the child’s mother, signing an official agreement with the mother or getting a court order. You can still get responsibility in these ways – you might want to think about this if you have other children.
Need help to decide what to do?Parentline Plus has a free helpline where you can talk through the options and ask for advice. Call them on Parentline Plus 0808 800 2222 or Text phone 0800 783 6783.
Where can I register?The birth has to be registered in the registration district where it took place. So if you are planning to have your baby in the City of Portsmouth you have a number of options.
You may register your baby’s birth by telephoning 023 9275 6597 to make an appointment to see the Registrar at the Register Office for Portsmouth which is located in Milldam House, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth. The office opening hours are 9.00am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
If it would be difficult to attend our office you may go to any other Register Office in England and Wales to give information for the registration. The birth will not be registered there. This information will be posted to us and once we have registered the birth your documents will be sent to you immediately. However, due to an arrangement with the Hampshire Registration Service, if you go to the Register Office in Fareham, Havant, Gosport or Petersfield, the birth can be registered there and your certificates will be issued at the same time. You can contact all these offices on 0845 603 5637. All surrounding area offices also operate an appointment system, so please telephone first.
What information will the Registrar ask for?Baby
The date and place of the baby’s birth.
Whether the baby is a boy or a girl.
If the birth is one of twins, triplets etc then the time of each baby’s birth will be required.
The forename(s) and surname with which it is intended that the baby will be brought up.
Father / 2nd Parent (Where these details are to be entered in the register)
Forenames and surname
Date and place of birth
Occupation at the time of baby’s birth or, if they were not working at that time, the previous occupation.
Mother Her forename and surname. Her maiden surname will also be required if she is, or has been, married
Her date and place of birth
Her usual address at the date of birth
Her occupation at the time of baby’s birth or, if she was not working at that time, her previous occupation.
If the parents were married to each other or in a civil partnership at the time of the birth the registrar will ask for the date of the marriage/civil partnership.
The number of children the mother has had.
If English is not the first language of the parents and they would like someone to help them with the registration, they should feel free to ask a relative or friend to accompany them to the Register Office.
But please remember that one of the parents must register the birth personally – they cannot ask a relative or friend to attend instead of them.
What certificates will I be issued with?
After the birth has been registered you will be given a short birth certificate which is issued free of charge. The short certificate meets most ordinary needs but a full birth certificate, which is a complete copy of the entry in the register, will be required to apply for things like the child's passport and opening a bank account. A full certificate can be purchased as the time of registering the baby's birth for £4.00. This fee will increase if you decide to apply for a full birth certificate or further certificates, short or full, at a later date.
Our contact details:
The Register Office, Milldam House, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth, PO1 3AF
Telephone 023 9275 6597 to make an appointment
The office opening hours are 9.00am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.